1 October, 2018

The curtain came down on a thrilling 2018 Blancpain GT Series this weekend at the famous Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, giving the Orange1 Team GRT a well-deserved 3rd place finish in the championship.

Earlier in the weekend, the qualifying session was red-flagged twice for two separate incidents, losing at least 30 minutes of track running time out of the 90-minute session. That hampered the teams session in Q2, both the #63 and #19 cars were not able to set a lap time. Unfortunately, as a result – P48 and P49 was the maximum position for the start grid.

When the lights went out to signal the start of the 3-hour race, over 50 cars accelerated off the line to get the race underway. The #63 and Bortolotti pounced on their competition, putting in some brave wheel-to-wheel racing, whilst climbing through the pack to a fantastic 22nd place, all within the first hour, pulling off some strong overtaking. After handing the #63 over to Caldarelli, who also showed strong performance, who placed the car up in to P13. The race settled down in the middle hour and when Engelhart took over the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 he emerged in 13rd place for the final stint.

Despite a very difficult year for the GRT Grasser Racing Team, an amazing 3rd place finish in the 2018 Team Championship is a worthy end to the season.

Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #63 (Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart, Andrea Caldarelli)
Qualifying: 49th
Race: P12
nd (1:47.273), 92 laps

Mirko Bortolotti: “I qualified in P2 in Qualifying 1 with a great lap, but unfortunately we had to start from P47 for what happened to us in Qualifying 2. I drove the car at the start of the race and had a great first stint getting into the top 20. Unfortunately, our last pitstop was too short, so once again we had a drive through penalty, which stripped us from a sensational result. We’ve got to learn from it as a team and avoid today’s Qualifying and Race mistakes in the future.”

Andrea Caldarelli: “Again it was unfortunate weekend. We were really unlucky in Qualifying 2 and couldn’t set up any lap times, because of the two red flags in my both laps. This basically compromised our weekend. We started from P48 and managed to finish in P13. Mirko did a mega stint, then unfortunately we lost 5 secs on the pitstop because we had car damage. Anyway, I was able to take the second stint and we got back to P12. The car wasn’t perfect because of this damage, but I’m very happy with my stint. I made some good overtakes. Then we had got a drive-through penalty for leaving the pit too early on Christian’s stint. Again, it’s not the result we wanted, but at least we did a very good recovery race. It’s a pity to finish the season like this but we will try again in the next year.”

Christian Engelhart: “It’s been a race like this season, full of up’s and down’s. In the end we displayed our fighting spirit today even if we didn’t make it to the podium. Anyway I want to thank all that were involved for this season, my partners, my family and especially the GRT team for all the effort this year. We had some tough races, but we also managed to win races and we were always there to put up a fight against all odds.”

Armando Donazzan Orange1 President: “ It was a challenging Season that has given us many emotions and, for better or for worse, has given us both great joy but also great disappointment. We have learned a lot and we will use the experience we did on track to avoid mistakes and to improve more and more. 2019 will be a year full of good news and we will be protagonist for sure! ”